All posts by stellar.ice

NCG Review – AI: Somnium Files (Switch, PC, PS4)

Basic Info

“The mind never lies…

In a near-future Tokyo, Special Agent Kaname Date is on the case of a mysterious serial killer. Date must investigate crime scenes as well as dreams on the hunt for clues. From the mind of Kotaro Uchikoshi (Zero Escape series director), with character design by the Yusuke Kozaki (NO MORE HEROES, Fire Emblem series), a thrilling neo-noir detective adventure is about to unfold.”

TITLE AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES
RELEASE DATE Digital (PSN, NSW, STEAM): September 17, 2019
Retail (PS4, NSW) : September 24, 2019
PLATFORM(S) PlayStation®4, Nintendo Switch™, Steam® (PC)
PRICE Standard Edition: $59.99/ €59.99

Special Agent Edition: $89.99/ €99.99

PLAYER(S) 1 player
GENRE Adventure
WEBSITE http://spike-chunsoft.com/ai | Steam Store
RATING ESRB: M/ PEGI: 18 / USK: 16
LANGUAGE(S) English/Traditional Chinese text, Japanese audio/English audio
DEVELOPER Spike Chunsoft, Co., Ltd.
COPYRIGHT ©Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Licensed to and Published by Spike Chunsoft, Inc.

Story

A woman’s body is found with multiple stab wounds and missing her left eye.  She is bound to a merry-go-round in a long abandon amusement park. When the main character, Kaname Date, arrives he immediately recognizes the woman. Shoko Nadami, the ex-wife of his close friend and mother to the young girl he is housing.

You mission? Solve the mysteries around this murder. Can you find the truth behind the incident and capture the killer?90

Throughout the game you play as Kaname Date.  With no memories from 6 years prior and missing his left eye, Kaname Date encounters Boss.  Boss helps Date get hired at the Metro Police as a detective in the Advanced Brain Investigation Squad (ABIS) and replaces his left eye with Aiba, an artificial intelligence directly wired to his brain.  Aiba, who has been with Date for 6 years, assists him with his work as a detective by providing him with instant information, x ray vision, the ability to see long distances, and predict actions that will get Date out of some sticky situations.   Aiba also acts as Date’s avatar when he needs to “Psync” into another person’s consciousness within Somnium (the subconscious world of another character).  Along with Aiba, Date investigates Shoko’s murder to find her killer.c00

There are many twists and turns as you meet new characters and learn their connection and/or involvement in the murder. One story line, based on your choices in Somnium, will play out in a completely different way compared to another route.  Some characters will live in one line, and some characters will die in another.  Can you make it to the “true” ending?

Gameplay

AI: Somnium Files is a mash-up of visual novel and puzzle game.  The basic story line carries core elements of a visual novel, however, rather than reading text on the screen you’re given an opportunity to interact with the room and characters around you. This is all presented to you in a limited way (your character cannot get up and walk around the room or explore new areas on your own), but you have the ability to look around you and take in the environment.01

In additional to visual-novel elements, you’ll be presented with the ability to “psync”.  The concept of this is diving into the sub consciousness of another character and unlock a repressed/hidden memory, which you will need to do in order to further your investigation.  During the Psync, you need to solve puzzles to find the secret hidden in a characters sub consciousness.  In order to solve the puzzle you interact, through Aiba, with the items in an area.  Unlike the limited presentation of the “investigation” aspect of the story, you can control Aiba and move her through the Somnium space.  How you interact with the objects is the key to unlocking the “mental blocks” put in place.  A Psync can only last for 6 minutes (game time), but each interaction you make with an object depletes the remaining time you have.  There are TIMIEs you can use which will decrease the amount of time spent on an action but there are also Negative TIMIEs which will increase the time for your next interaction.  Interactions with the objects are not obvious and you’ll end up burning through time to find the correct interaction.  Fortunately, you get 3 retries but sometimes finding the right order of interaction will take you more than 3 attempts.  There are some actions you perform that will have a Negative TIMIE in order to progress so on your next action so you need to figure out how to maximize the use of your time.10

How you complete the puzzles in Somnium determines the path of story.  Based on which “Mental locks” you open, the story will proceed down that path. Not every Somnium puzzle has separate paths, but ones that have two will lead you down a different story line.AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES_20190417131431

What really sets this game apart from similar titles is that you do not have to repeat the entire story to take a different path in the game.  Instead, you can go back to a “psync” and replay it. This increases the replay value and doesn’t make the game feel so tedious, which tends to happen with visual novels if you don’t know where and when to save.

Visuals/Graphics and Audio

Most visual novels can be very bland and fall flat when it comes to animation and graphics, however, the all dialogue of the game is voiced over which makes the story that much more engaging.  Characters are also animated when talking, moving their arms, making facial expressions and simple gestures, and this is a nice touch since it brings the characters to life.13

Verdict

Pros: Unlike most visual novels, the game doesn’t fall flat.  The story line itself is enough to keep the player intrigued and curious to know all the secrets of the game. Although frustrating at times, the puzzles are challenging.  You’re given hints on what you need to do, but finding the next action isn’t obvious. Although graphics aren’t “triple A” status, the animation and voice overs give enough to the player to bring the story to life.  While in Somnium, when performing an action, rather than the game telling you you’ve made a bad choice, the dialogue between the characters becomes ridiculous, either with Date and Aiba mocking each other or making jokes at Date’s expense.

Cons: The only real qualm I had with the game is the lack of opportunity to save before jumping into a Somnium puzzle.  Save points in games are incredibly important to me because I have to jump on and off of a game (hours of sit through game play? Not in my adult life!).  Sometimes a “Psync” will just start (it will be obvious when it does but almost unexpected) and I do not have the chance to save the game before jumping in.  You cannot save before or during a “psync” so I’m either stuck putting my game in “Sleep Mode” until I can play again, or hope that AutoSave will take me back where I left off.

I would rate this game an 8 out of 10.Score

Overall, I really enjoyed the story and even though the Somnium puzzles took me a few attempts, I found myself going back to unlock different story lines without much hesitation or feeling “too drained” to keep going.

Have you heard of this game? Will you pick up this title? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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NCG Review: The Caligula Effect: Overdose (Switch, PS4, PC)

Wanting to forget about the pain of our daily lives is something a majority of us are familiar with, after all, we spend countless hours glued to our phones mindlessly browsing through social media or playing games.  But what would happen if a sentient being created a world for us to live in and be forever happy? Would you want to live in this paradise?21.png

The Caligula Effect: Overdose takes us into the world of Mobius where the lines of fantasy and reality are blurred.  Will you want to live in Mobius?

Story

Created by the sentient vocaloid program, μ (Mu), Mobius is a place for people to forget about their everyday problems and re-live a blissful high school life.  In a setting where fantasy and reality are blurred, the “Go Home Club”, who have awaken to the falsehoods of Mobius, attempt to escape this false paradise.

To be honest, I wasn’t quite familiar with the premise of The Caligula Effect, but I had watched the first couple episodes of the anime and completely forgot about it.  After picking up the game I decided to revisit the anime series.14.png

I played the game for about 5 hours before jumping into the anime series, which was a decent amount of time spent on the game.  In many instances, I usually say the game is better since there is a lot of time to build the story, however, I hate to admit that the anime captures the emotional impact of the game in a clearer and more concise way.

While playing, I found it difficult to balance my interest in the story with the variety of game play elements.  When presented with story line topics, the game fell flat.  The characters want to escape Mobius, but in game there’s an overall apathy about actually trying to escape.  The characters don’t quite come off quite as strong in the video game.

Gameplay

What makes the Caligula Effect: Overdose stand out is the unique combat system.  Although battles are a turn-based, you have the option to customize your battle.  You can pick from your character skills and attack with a single character up to three times.  What’s really cool is that the game will go into a prediction mode and you can watch how the actions and battle moves will play out before you commit to them.  In addition to seeing how moves will play out, you have the option to adjust the timing of your moves.  You can adjust the timing of a hit to be delayed or for the character to attack sooner; it’s like crafting your own battle.  You can do this for each character on your team and strategize your attacks based on the character skills.  Of course, predictions are not 100% accurate and sometimes will not indicate when the opponent will be defeated.  You have to pay close attention and take some risks when designing your battle. Overall, this was an element I really enjoyed since it takes basic “turn based” game play to a different level.08.png

The Caligula Effect: Overdose is your basic RPG game so you have the options to complete missions and side quests.  Accessing side quests is a bit unique since it’s based on your relationship with NPCs.  All the students walking around are the people that inhabit Mobius.  Based on your social connections and reputation you can talk to them and learn about their problems and struggles.  When you reach a certain level of friendship you’ll learn more about what is troubling them and will have to help them resolve their issues. To take it a step further, you can access a sub menu called “LINE” and communicate with the friends you have made by sending texts.  However, the prompts are repetitive and even if you’ve already asked the question the prompt will reappear.  Responses are all generic and you can get the gist of the character personality, but there are so many characters to chat with it’s easy to get overwhelmed and bored with this function of the game.06.png

Audio

μ (Mu) is the creator of Mobius so it’s fitting to have her songs performing in the background.  It’s her music, after all, that influences the characters and keeps them brainwashed.  You get a really fun J-pop track playing throughout the level.  While the songs are all fun and catchy, I didn’t feel inclined to stay in a particular area too long since the chorus is on permanent loop throughout the level.

Verdict

Pros: The battle system is a lot of fun and the game offers a variety of game play elements to delve into.17.png

Cons: The story doesn’t hit quite as hard during game play.  After a while the music can start to irk your nerves.

Overall score:

I’d give it a 5.  It isn’t a must-have, but might be something worth picking up on sale. You might have a better time catching the anime instead.Score

Have you played this game? What did you think? Are you a fan of the anime?

Let me know in the comments!

 

NCG Review – Steins;Gate Elite (PS4, Switch, PC)

Steins;Gate Elite is a remastered version of the original titled. Based on the original game, 80,000 lines of text and over 7,000 anime scenes were analyzed in order to piece together this Elite version of the game.

I attempted picking up the original Steins;Gate visual novel, but struggled to make it through to the end.  Can players find themselves making it to the end of the Elite version?

Story

If you are unfamiliar with the story, Okabe Rintaro AKA Hououin Kyouma is a mad scientist set to oppose “The Organization”.  Most of this is part of his own self-created delusions, but his lab mems (lab members) Mayushii and Daru go along with his flow.  After discovering the body of Makise Kurisu at a conference about time-travel, something strange happens to Okabe when he makes it back to the streets of Akihabara.  After sending a text message to fellow lab mem, Daru, about Makise Kurisu’s death, Okabe finds himself alone on the streets of Akihabara. As the people come back, Okabe notices that his memories of the events at the Radio Kaikan building, where the conference took place, do not seem to match those around him.  Instead, the Radio Kaikan building has been closed down because a satellite has crashed into it and Mayushii, who attended the even with him, has no recollection of being inside of the building.

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It isn’t until Okabe finds Makise Kurisu, alive and well, that he starts questioning what has happened.  Events start to unfold after the re-appearance of a mysterious self-proclaimed time traveler (who no one remembers from 10 years prior), strange phenomena occurring with the use of the latest gadget “Phone Wave (name subject to change), and a living breathing Makise Kurisu.  What has happened to Okabe Rintaro? This story has a very clever use of time travel theories and the butterfly effect.  If you haven’t watched the series, you’ll find yourself wondering how the events unfold, diverge and reconnect together.

Graphics

Deviating for normal graphic novel story telling, Steins;Gate Elite incorporates anime into the overall game play.  Rather than looking at a static figure and dialogue, you experience the scene as though watching an anime.  This approach to visual novels makes the story so much more engaging! I struggled to stay awake while playing the previous game. The Elite version just feels more satisfying to play.

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My only gripe about this transition from static to moving is that the overall style of the original visual novel is removed.  The hand-drawn representation and unique look is removed in the Elite version and comes off very bland. I would have liked to see the original style in-tact.  This, of course, makes sense since scenes were taken from the anime itself.

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Gameplay

Graphic novels follow the same formula.  You are presented with dialogue, and when the protagonist needs to make a choice, you choose between 2 or 3 responses.  In turn, these responses determine which kind of ending you’ll get.

Steins:Gate is unique in that, rather than a pop up of multiple responses, the outcome of your story is determined by how you respond to other characters via text message.  This is a creative device since so much of the story is based around the usage of cellphones and text messaging.  Choosing a response, or lack thereof, can set you down your ending path.

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Steins:Gate Elite uses a very similar mechanic to the original.  However, the responses you will need to make will not align with the original game since new communications between characters have been added; this makes the game feel a bit newer and less like the original but still maintains the original story and pattern.  Elite adds new animations and scenes for each character route.  This will have you going back to see the variety of ways the story could end.  I am aiming for a Mayuri route! Needing to check the cellphone is a bit more guided.  When I first jumped into the original Steins;Gate I didn’t even look at messages because I didn’t realize you were supposed to! This takes away from the exploration aspect, but it also emphasizes the relevance of the communications, which wasn’t very clear in the original title.

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Verdict

Pros: Steins;Gate is definitely one of my favorite series.  I like all of the characters, and although the series is very harem, it’s not overly fan-servicey and sticks to the main plot.  The exploration of time travel through these characters is unforgettable.

Using animation for the story telling aspect is basically what I have wanted for every visual novel I have played. This is a win, hands down.

The addition of new animations to unlock and different story routes are what brings you back to the game; you want to get all endings.  The new animations are going to keep me hooked since I want to see scenes that were not in the anime.

Cons: While I really like the animated story telling, the overall style of the series is lost.  I felt the characters were really beautiful in the original title, but their overall design was lost in the transition.  I guess some sacrifices needed to be made.

I would rate Steins:Gate Elite a 9 out of 10.  Sure, you know what you’re expecting, but the Elite version is a new approach to visual novels that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Score

 

 

NCG Review – Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight (PS4, PSVITA)

Not going to lie, I played the pants off of Persona 4: Dancing all Night.  I went as far as getting all the trophies and buying all the DLC.  Now, Persona 3 is definitely my favorite in the series, with Persona 5 coming in at 2nd so I was ecstatic when I heard they were also making a music game for those titles!  Did the games live up to my expectations?

Story

What I loved about Persona 4: Dancing all Night was the story.  It was as though it was a side story  that brought the team back together again after the adventure was over.  Not to mention the introduction of new characters, Kanami Mashita and the idol group Kanamin Kitchen was a nice touch. Sure, the dialogue and plot were kind of cheesy, but it gave you a goal and a new mission; dance your butt off to satisfy the shadows!  Something about the tone of the story combined with the remixed soundtrack made the game a fun experience: there was a theme, there was a resolution!P5D 1.png

Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight didn’t quite live up to that expectation.  The team has been taken to the Velvet Room for a competition but no cast members will remember what has happened in the Velvet Room when they wake up which makes this story null and void to the series.  It’s not a supplement, just an extra game.  There is also no variance in story for either title; the story for each game is essentially the same, just with a different set of characters. This simplifies the game, but at the same time the plot for the two titles doesn’t feel, in any way, compelling.  Sure, a dancing game doesn’t really need a plot, but I thought it was an aspect that made Persona 4: Dancing all Night stand out and I was hoping to see again with Persona 3 and Persona 5.  I really wanted to see what creators could come up with for each cast…P3D 1.png

The story is not essential to enjoying the game.  I just thought it would have been a nice touch to include a unique story that pertained to each cast, similar to P4: DAN.

Gameplay

If you played Persona 4: Dancing all Night, then picking up Persona 3 and Persona 5 will be a piece of cake.  Game play is simple in that you have icons that move outward from the middle and you need to push the corresponding button(s) on the left side, the right side, or both at the right time. You can get a “Perfect”, “Great”, “Good”, or “Miss” based on how accurate you hit the notes. Notes are the same as P4: single note, double note, hold, and scratch.  Persona 3 and 5 have added an additional double-tap note which is easy enough to pick up.

What I forgot about the Persona dancing games is the pacing is not as fast as other music games. Notes do not feel like they’re flying at you at inhuman speeds.  For me, this was difficult to keep up with since I am not used to actually watching the notes crawl into place; I use my gamer sense and mash accordingly.  To compensate, I added a modifier which speeds up the notes.  Slower notes movement is an aspect that might be fun to players who love the Persona series, but aren’t too big into music games and who do not play them regularly.P5D 3

Since there is not a central story to either games, you gain your unlockables and modifiers through social links.  In order to unlock social links you need to play the game.  There are a lot of fun ways to unlock social links, for example, wearing different accessories and costumes, or getting a certain number of combos.

Playing through the social links wasn’t my favorite part of the game, but it did bring me back to my favorite characters.  Persona 3 is my favorite game in the series, so seeing my favorite characters was a lot of fun.  I forgot how much I loved Elizabeth’s (or “Elle-P”‘s) quirky personality!  And although sitting through each social link could be boring at times (the dialogue is extremely cheesy!) I was rewarded with a variety of items and modifiers.unnamed.png

Like the previous entry, you can change the game by adding modifiers.  Some modifiers will help you in the game, or make it more challenging.  Helping modifiers subtract from your final score, and challenges will add to your score.

The criteria that determines whether or not your passed a song is very unclear.  P3 & P5 play similar to P4 in that you need to get the crowd excited, but it’s hard to determine if you are.  Maybe I am still salty, but I had nearly a full combo and missed (not hit it too late/too early) 2 notes toward the end of the song and did not clear it! I played the same song again, with weaker combos and hit rates, and passed the song…P5D 2.png

The overall game play is very fun for both titles.  The downside: both games are EXACTLY THE SAME.  This is down to the modifiers and social link criteria.

Audio

I’ll be pretty honest and come out and say that I am not a big fan of any Persona sound track.  Persona 4 was a lot of fun for me because of the remixes.  I jumped right into Persona 5 since it was the latest and freshest in my mind, but I just could not get into any of the tracks.  Jumping into Persona 3, though, was much funner since the audio tracks have a more up-beat music game sound to it.

Each game has around 25 songs, and follow the same pattern where you play four songs with individual characters, and then get either an animated song, or group song. This pattern follows until the end, where you get the concert rendition and then the “final” group dance song where all characters are dancing in the video.

When it comes down to picking which game has the better audio list, it comes down to preference.  For me, it was hands down P3 with the pop remixes of the original sound track.

Graphics

I played P4 on my Vita so the transition to PS4 was much welcomed.  The graphics have been enhanced and there’s an increase in the frame rate for all 3 entries.  You may need to adjust your TV settings and calibrate the buttons to ensure there is no lag.P3D 2

Verdict

Pros:  The game is addicting, easy to pick up, and revisits the cast from P3 and P5 titles. When playing you feel compelled to challenge yourself to see if you can get a King Crazy combo or beat your previous score.

Since the story is simplified, you don’t have to sit through a story plot that may or may not be interesting to you.

While you can unlock social links and get more items, it’s not really a requirement to go through them.  You can play through the songs as normal.  Social links are only relevant if you like modifying your characters and unlocking items.P3D 3

The sound tracks are unique to each game and you can play through some really awesome remixes of your favorite songs from each title.

Cons:  P3 and P5 are basically the same game.  Same plot, same way to unlock things, and to be honest, some of the dance moves even looked the same.  They’re basically the same game with 2 different skins and playlists.  Maybe this isn’t a con, but a gripe since I was hoping to view these as two separate entries.unnamed(1)

I rate Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight an 8 out of 10.

I don’t like how both titles are basically the same game.  If you want to save money, you’re better off picking your preferred cast and picking up that title.  But despite the sameness, the overall game play and game structure is still a lot of fun and worth the price tag (for a single game).  There is a lot more to the game than just dancing and you’ll enjoy going back down memory lane when you hear your favorite jam.Score

Have you picked up either of these titles yet? What did you think? Which is your favorite Persona game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

 

NCG Review – Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (Nintendo Switch)

Hello everyone! I apologize for my extreme delay in submitting this review.  I really wanted to sit down with this title and explore the game to the full extent.  Lucky for me, this comes after the announcement for the release of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana Accolades.  Definitely pick it up!

I’ll start this review off by saying I have not played any of the previous Ys titles, so Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana will be my first in the series.  This review also comes after the backlash of the initial release.  The version I was able to play was for the Nintendo Switch, which included all the promised patches for the game.  That being said, my review is from the perspective of a new comer, and a player who didn’t experience the first wave release of the game.2018081221212000-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

Story

After the Lombardia was attacked by a mysterious sea creature, passengers are washed onto the island Seiren.  Survivors must band together, find other passengers, protect their camp and find a way off of the island.  The game starts out as mere survival and then builds with unexpected things happening at every turn.  Ancient beasts, mysterious notes, strange dreams, and even more! I would love to go more into the story but I really don’t want to ruin it for anyone who intends on picking up the game! However, I will comment that the story is worthwhile to play through since the story unfolds in such a fascinating way.2018090817211800-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

Game play

Ys VIII is a real-time RPG so you fight monsters as they appear with various attacks. Combat is simple.  You can attack, down attack, skill attack, and Extra attack.  During combat you will also need to block and dodge.  The dynamic fighting style draws the player into combat since some monsters require you to use dodging and blocking in order to gain the advantage.  When you block/dodge at the right moments, you get block guard/flash guard, which slows the monster down for a few seconds in order for you to unleash a few more hits on them. This much better than bashing “A” (although, you can also do that, but take some damage in the process) to defeat enemies. Mastering when to block and dodge is particularly useful when you defend the campsite and fight bosses since you gain extra points when you do so. As you play through, the characters learn skills as you level up.  You can swap skills out as you play through the game making each character adaptable to your play style. However, each character can only hold up to 4 skills during play, so you’ll need to pay attention to weaknesses and range.2018072620394700-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

Each character has a unique set of skills and are stronger against certain monsters.  As you fight monsters you’ll notice where their weaknesses are and switch out accordingly.  When I play other RPGs, I tend to rely on one character to defeat monsters and bosses in, and this will make the game feel stale and boring, but as you adventure around the island, monsters in an area have a variety of weaknesses so you can’t just adventure solely with one character. Although Adol is the main character, you’ll get a lot of play with the other characters  -Adol doesn’t even have to be on your team!

The game environment feels open since there are many locations to discover and side missions to complete.  However, the game is very guided and certain areas will open based on how you have progressed through the story and the game overall. I found myself exploring every inch of the island and getting frustrated when there were areas I couldn’t easily access.  Although the map is limited, the game does a good job guiding you back to areas where you may have missed a couple items or needed to level up in order to play through.2018081219085400-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

One aspect that I really enjoyed about the game is the collection aspect.  Not only does it make sense to collect materials versus money (since money wouldn’t exist on a deserted island, anyway) but you can utilize most of the materials you collect.  In most RPGs I tend to sell off random collected materials for whichever monetary system the game established making the items seem incredibly pointless.  The collection aspect in Ys just made sense. There isn’t a limit to how much your character can “hold” so you can collect as much as you need to.

Between story plots, there are different types of raids you will need to participate in.  Depending on how well you do during a raid you will collect more items you can craft or trade for other things.  Before a raid, you’ll need to set up items to protect/distract beasts.  These items can be leveled up.  During a raid, the beasts will try to destroy these items and your goal is protect them and the camp.  You gain more points by using more special moves and using the dodge/block mechanic (as mentioned briefly above).

While adventuring, there are a variety of side activities you can do.  You can take on side quests to level up your relationships with members at the campsite, or, while adventuring, you can take a break and go fishing.  Fishing isn’t particularly important, but it helps with completing the journal (if you’re into that completion stuff), and in some instances locate hidden treasures.  Maxing out your approvals and completing missions for side will also affect the ending you get.2018082219024900-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

Graphics

I have not played this title on any other console besides the Nintendo Switch.  Graphics aren’t remarkable, but they’re enough to draw you into the atmosphere of the Ys world.  In some instances, the game will lag and you’ll notice a significant decrease in quality.  I’ve only seen this when Adol is interacting with another character at the campsite and only in handheld mode. Switching to TV mode, I do not notice any decrease in quality.  I’ve also encountered this when I play as past Dana.  The game will lag when she needs to switch between powers.  When this happened, I would restart the game and it would play as normal.

Another aspect I enjoyed about the game is that monsters, in design, are varied.  Some look similar, but it’s not always a re-skin or re-color of another monster from a different area.  So, that’s a plus.  Of course, there are the same “types” of monsters around the island, but the varying design makes the areas you play through more believable and immersive, it’s like Seiren is a real place.

Verdict

Pros

The game play allows for a variety styles of play.  You’re not always bashing the same button or using the same character throughout the game. You’re also not focusing on only one mission at a time.  You can choose between plowing through to get to the next story point, or have a bit of fun exploring the island.

I love the plots, arcs, and twists to the overall story.  The game slowly reveals the mysteries of the island and you don’t want to leave until everything has been resolved.

Cons

Sometimes there’s a drop in graphic quality in handheld mode, but it’s not enough to ruin the game.  Every now and then a re-start is required.

It might be the Switch itself, but there are places where I accidentally pull up certain menus or will unleash an extra skill.  Button sensitivity can be slightly annoying.

Overall, I’d rate Ys VIII and 8 out of 10.  I really enjoyed the story, the dynamic game play sets Ys apart from other titles.  I couldn’t rank much higher than 8 since there were quite a few instances where I found myself putting down the game after an hour or so of play.  There’s some missing element that I can’t quite put my finger on which prevented me from being completely hooked on the game.Score

Have you played any Ys titles? Have you picked up Ys VIII? What are your impressions of the game? Let us know in the comments!